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^S-^ '653 East Moin Street 

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15 J 






* ^ • • MCMIX 

" The Bachelor most joyfully 

In pleasant plight doth pass his daies. 
Good-fellowship and companie 
He doth maintain and keep alu/aies." 

EvAWs's Old Ballads. 

T^-RE is no character in the comedy of 
human hfe that is more difficult to play 
well than that of an old Bachelor. When a 
single gentleman, therefore, arrives at that 
critical penod when he begins to consider it 
an impertment question to be asked his age 
I would advise him to look veil to h's ways! 
This period, it is true, is much later with some 



men than with others ; I have witnessed more 
than once the meeting of two wrinkled old 
lads of this kind, who had not seen each other 
for several years, and have been amused by the 
amicable exchange of compliments on each 
other's appearance that takes place on such 
occasions. There is always one invariable 
observation, " Why, bless my soul ! you look 
younger than when I last saw you ! " When- 
ever a man's friends begin to compliment him 
about looking young, he may be su^e thit they 
think he is growing old. 

I am led to make these remarks by the 
conduct of Master Simon and the general, 
who have become great cronies. As the former 
is the youngest by many years, he is ref.ardf.a 
as quite a youthful gallant by the general, who 
moreover looks upon him as a man of great wit 
and prodigious acquirements. Master Simon 
is a family beau, and considered rather a young 
fellow by all the elderly ladies of the connection, 
for an old bachelor, in an old family connection, 


is something like an actor in a regular dramatic 
corps, ^ who seems "to flourish in immortal 
youth," and will continue to play the Romeos 
and Rangers for half a ^ 

century together. 

Master Simon, too, is a ^— ^ 
little of the chameleon, and -f^ 
takes a different hue with "^^ 
every different companion : "^ 

draws quivers 

he is very attentive and 
ofHcious, and somewhat sen- 
timental, with Lady Lilly- 
craft ; copies out little 
namby-pamby ditties and 
love-songs for her, and ^.»_ ^„,,,„ 
and doves and darts and Cupids to be worked 
in the corners of her pocket handkerchiefs. 
He mdulges, however, in very considerable 
latitude with the other married ladies of 
the family, and has many sly pleasantries to 
whisper to them, that provoke an equivocal 
laugh and tap of the fan. But when he gets 



among young company, he is apt to put on 
the mad wag, and to talk in a very bachelor- 
like strain about the sex. 

In this he has been encouraged by the 
example of the general, whom he looks up to 
as a man who has seen the world. The general, 
in fact, tells shocking stories after dinner, 
when the ladies have retired, which he gives 
as some of the choice things that are served 
up at the MuUagatawny Club, a knot of boon 
companions in London. 

I saw him and Mastrr Simon, an evening 
or two since, conversing with a buxom milk- 
maid in a meadow ; and from their elbowing 
each other now and then, and the general's 
shaking his shoulders, blowing up his cheeks, 
and breaking out into a short fit of irrepressible 
laughter, I had no doubt they were playing 
the mischief with the girl. 

As I looked at them through a hedge, I could 
not but think they would have made a tolerable 
group for a modern picture of Susannah and 


the two elders. It is true, the girl seemed in 
no wise alarmed at the force of the enemy ; 
and I question, had either of them been alone, 


whether she would not have been more than 
they would have ventured to encounter. 
Such veteran roisters are daring wags when 
together, and will put any female to the blush 
with their jokes ; but they are as quiet as lambs 

B 9 


when they fall singly into the clutches of a 
fine woman. 

In spite of the general's years, he evidently 
IS a little vain of his person, and ambitious of 
conquests. I have observed him on Sunday 
in church eyeing the country girls most sus- 
piciously, and have seen him leer upon them 
with a downright amorous look even when 
he has been gallanting Lady Lillycraft with 
great ceremony through the churchyard. The 
general, in fact, is a veteran in the service of 
Cupid rather than of Mars, having signalised 
himself in all the garrison towns and country 
quarters, and seen service in every ballroom 
of England. Not a celebrated beauty but 
he has laid siege to ; and if his word may 
be taken in a matter wherein no man is apt 
to be over-veracious, it is incredible what 
success he has had with the fair. At present 
he is like a worn-out warrior, retired from 
service, but who still cocks his beaver with 
a military air, and talks stoutly of fighting 


whenever he comes within the smell of gun- 

I have heard him speak his mind very freely 


over his bottle about the folly of the captain 
in takmg a wife, as he thinks a young soldier 
should care for nothing but his " bottle and 
kind landlady." But, in fact, he says the 
service on the Continent has had a sad effect 
upon the young men : they have been ruined 
by light wines and French quadrilles. " They've 
nothing," he says, " of the spirit of the old 
service. There are none of your six-bottle 
men left, that were the souls of a mess dinner." 



As to a bachelor, the general affirms that he 
is a free and easy man, with no baggage to 
take care of but his portmanteau : but, as 
Major Pendergast says, a married man, with 
his wife hanging on his arm, always puts him 
in mind of a chamber candlestick with its 
extinguisher hitched to it. I should not mind 
all this if it were merely confined to the general ; 
but I fear he will be the ruin of my friend 
Master Simon, who already begins to echo 
his heresies, and to talk in the style of a gentle- 
man that has seen life and lived upon the town. 
Indeed, the general seems to have taken Master 
Simon in hand, and talks of showing him the 
lions when he comes to town, and of intro- 
ducing him to a knot of choice spirits at the 
Mullagatawny Club ; which, I understand, 
is composed of old nabobs, officers in the 
Company's employ, and other " men of Ind," 
that have seen service in the East, and returned 
home burnt out with curry and touched with 
the liver complaint. They have their regular 



club, where they eat muUagatawny soup, 
smoke the hookah, talk about Tippoo Saib, 
Seringapatam and tiger-hunting, and are 
tediousiy agreeable in each other's company. 



" rU live a private, pensive, single life:' 

The Collier of Croydon. 

I WAS sitting in my room, a morning or two 
smce, reading, when some one tapped at the 
door, and Master Simon entered. He had an 
usuaUy fresh appearance; he had put on a 
bright green riding-coat, with a bunch of 
violets in the button-hole, and had the air 
of an old bachelor trying to rejuvenate himself. 
He had not, however, his usual briskness and 
vivacity, but loitered about the room with 
somewhat of absence of manner, humming the 
old song-" Go, lovely rose, tell her that 
wastes her time and me » ; and then, leaning 
against the window, and looking upon the 



landscape, he uttered a very audible sigh. 
As I had not been accustomed to see Master 
Simon in a pensive mood, I thought there 
might be some vexation preying on his mind, 
and I endeavoured to introduce a cheerful 
stra. if conversation ; but he was not in the 
vein to follow it up, and proposed that .ve 
should take a walk. 

It was a beautiful morning, of that soft 
vernal temperature that seems to thaw all 
the frost out of one's blood, and to set all 
nature In a ferment. The very fishes felt its 
influence : the cautious trout ventured out of 
his dark hole to seek his mate, the roach and 
the dace rose up to the surface of the brcok 
to bask in the sunshine, and the amorous frog 
piped from among the rushes. If ever an 
oyste. can really fall in love, as has been said 
or sung, it must be on such a morning. 

The weather certainly had its effect, even 
upon Master Simon, for he seemed obstinately 
bent upon the pensive mood. Instead of 







t of 


re ok 




i of 


stepping briskly along, smacking his dog-whip, 
whistling quaint ditties, or telling sporting 
anecdotes, he leaned on my arm, and talked 
about the approaching nuptials ; from whence 
he made several digressions upon the character 
of womankind, touched a little upon the 
tender passion, and made sundry very excellent 
though rather trite observations upon dis- 
appointments in love. It was evident that 
he had something on his mind which he wished 
to impart, but felt awkward in approaching 
It. I was curious to see to what this strain 
would lead, but I was determined not to 
assist him. Indeed, I mischievously pretended 
to turn the conversation, and talked of his 
usual topics—dogs, horses, and hunting ; but 
he was very brief in his replies, and invariably 
got back, by hook or by crook, into the senti- 
mental vein. 

At length we came to a clump of trees that 
overhung a whispering brook, with a rustic 
bench at their feet. The trees were grievously 



scored with letters and devices, which had 
grown out of all shape and size by the growth 
of the bark ; and it appeared that this grove 
had served as a kind of register of the family 
loves from time immemorial. Here Master 
Simon made a pause, pulled up a tuft of flowers, 
threw them one by one into the water, and 
at length, turning somewhat abruptly upon 
me, asked me if I had ever been in love. I 
confess the question startled me a little, as 
I am not over-fond of making confessions of 
my amorous follies, and above all should never 
dream of choosing my friend Master Simon 
for a confidant. He did not wait, however, 
for a reply ; the inquiry was merely a prelude 
to a confession on his own part, and after 
several circumlocutions and whimsical pre- 
ambles, he fairly disburdened himself of a very 
tolerable story of his having been crossed 
in love. 

The reader will, very probably, suppose 
that it related to the gay widow who jilted 





him not long since at Doncaster races. No 
such thing. It was about a sentimental passion 
that he once had for a most beautiful young 
iady, who wrote poetry and played on the harp 
He used to serenade her; and indeed he 
described several tender and gallant scenes, in 
which he was evidently picturing himself in 
his mind s eye as some elegant hero of romance, 
though, unfortunately for the tale, I only saw 
him as he stood before me, a dapper little old 
bachelor, with a face like an apple that has 
dried with the bloom on it. 

WTiat were the particulars of this tender 
tale I have already forgotten ; indeed I listened 
to it with a heart like a very pebble stone, 
having hard work to repress a smile while 
Master Simon was putting on the amorous 
swain, uttering every now and then a sigh 
and endeavouring to look sentimental and 

AH that I recollect is, that the lady, according 
to his account, was certainly a little touched 



for she used to accept all the music that he 
copied for her harp, and all the patterns that 
he drew for her dresses : and he began to 
flatter himself, after a long course of delicate 
attentions, that he was gradually fanning up 
a gentle flame in her heart, when she suddenly 
accepted the hand of a rich, boisterous, fox- 
hunting baronet, without either music or 
sentiment, who carried her by storm after a 
fortnight's courtship. 

Master Simon could not help concluding 
by some observation about " m.odest merit," 
and the power of gold over the sex. As a 
remembrance of his passion, he pointed out a 
heart carved on the bark of one of the trees, 
but which, in the process of time, had grown 
out into a large excrescence ; and he showed 
me a lock of her hair, which he wore in a true 
lover's knot in a large gold brooch. 

I have seldom met with an old bachelor 
that had not, at some time or other, his non- 
sensical moment, when he would become tender 



and sentimental, talk about the concerns of 
the heart, and have some confession of a 
delicate nature to make. Almost every man 

has some little trait of romance in his life, 
which he looks back to with fondness, and 
about which he is apt to grow garrulous 
occasionally. He recollects himself as he was 
at the time, young and gamesome, and forgets 
that his hearers have no other idea of the hero 
of the tale but such as he may appear at the 



time of telling it — peradventure a withered, 
whimsical, spindle-shanked old gentleman. 
With married men, it is true, this is not so 
frequently the case ; their amorous romance 
is apt to decline after marriage — why, I ca inot 
for the life of me imagine— but with a bachelor, 
though it may slumber, it never dies. It is 
always liable to break out again in transient 
flashes, and never so much as on a spring 
morning in the country ; or on a winter evening 
when seated i his solitary chamber, stirring 
up the fire ana talking of matrimony. 

The moment that Master Simon had gone 
th \-.- '- his confession, and, to use the common 
phrase, * had made a clean breast of it," he 
became quite himself again. He had settled 
the point which had been worrying his mind, 
and doubtless considered himself established 
as a man of sentiment in my opinion. Before 
we had finished our morning's stroll, he was 
singing as blithe as a grasshopper, whistling 
to his dogs, and telling droll stories ; and I 


recollect that he was particularly facetious 
that day at dinner on the subject of matrimony, 
and uttered several excellent jokes, not to be 
found in Joe Miller, that made the bride- 
elect blush and look down, but set all the old 
gentlemen at the table in a roar, and absolutely 
brought tears ini n the general's eyes.